What is the Aspie Way?

The Aspie Way Philosophy

Before you read this, please see the “About” page for this blog.

The hypothesis is this: Aspies are suffering with crippling anxiety. They often don’t even know it because they don’t understand their own emotions. All the hellish traits we have to deal with are all because of this anxiety. So the key to the Aspie Way is to communicate in a way that does not trigger stress. Once stress is triggered, ASP can’t learn, will forget, and will either meltdown or withdraw, either immediately or later.

I also believe that underneath every ASP is a scared little boy who wants to please us more than anything. The problem is that every time they believe they’ve failed, that little boy goes deeper and deeper inside himself, where, you guessed it, he can’t learn how to please us.

So the answer? Teach that little boy how to trust you. Show him that he can make you happy by being very vocal about your appreciation of his gifts. You have to watch for those gifts, so many of them are easy to take for granted because they’re things we think they “should” do anyway. But regular tasks are more difficult for them and should be appreciated. So say lots of “thank you’s” over every day basic things. Say it even if you don’t feel it. As long as you don’t sound sarcastic or upset, he will hear it, will know he is succeeding at making you happy, and therefore will keep trying.

What about all the things he’s *not* doing “right?” Simply ask for what you want. Ask politely without emotion. Emotion scares the little boy. Just ask for what you want without explanation and always say please. Never add stuff like “…like I asked you already.” This will shame him and bring his walls up. Keep it very simple, monotone, blank face.

Depending on how bad things are you may have to start with small requests. You will have to ask for things you want him to figure out for himself. You will have to accept that he might not be capable of knowing what you want unless you tell him. You will have to change your expectations to be in line with his disabilities.

I am also a strong advocate for professional help for both the NT and the AS in the relationship. Medication for anxiety, ADD and depression for your ASP can bring miracles. The NT may need medication just as much before being able to control herself while learning the Aspie Way. I think the Aspie Way will work without meds, but I believe it will be a longer and more difficult road.

Last but not least, making these changes is hard. Expect to slip. It’s okay. Your ASP will forget bad days when they’re replaced by good ones. Go easy on yourself and take good care of yourself. Do what you need to do to process your anger and set boundaries for yourself. There’s no way I could have done any of this when I was drowning in bitterness and hopelessness. I had to fix me first.

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8 thoughts on “What is the Aspie Way?

  1. I am recently out of a 2 1/2 year relationship with a man who we only late into the relationship found out he has AS. Unfortunately, by that point, significant damage had been done to the relationship and the underline trust. I wish I had had the benefit of this information back then. Is there a chance that you might be willing to discuss your experience with me off-line?

  2. I am recently out of a 2 1/2 year relationship with a man who we only late into the relationship found out he has AS. Unfortunately, by that point, significant damage had been done to the relationship and the underlying trust. I wish I had had the benefit of this information back then. Is there a chance that you might be willing to discuss your experience with me off-line? As added information, I was the NT in the relationship and definitely suffering from stress of my own at the time (health-related). I would be curious to hear your thoughts on health-related issues/Aspie behavior in a crisis…thank you very much!

    • Intrigued,

      I am so sorry that I didn’t respond to this when you wrote it. I had messed up my blog settings and didn’t know I had any comments.

      I am sorry your relationship had to end. Do you still want to chat offline?

  3. Married to an Aspie for 22 years. Have come to the end of the road. Will not divorce because of faith issues but am makibg decisions about partial separation, i.e. I will live away for one/two weeks per month, but then return to the marital home to support husband as best I can. Regarding your alternative concept of management of an AS relationship, what you are describing is basically marriage to a child. This was not a vow I took, yet it is what has transpired. This makes the concept of sexual intimacy weird and outside of what any NT person would describe as Truth in the relationship. I have also recently discovered my husband has DID or MPD as it is better known. So, not only am I ‘asked’ to have sexual intimacy with someone who has the mental capacity of a child, but someone who has numerous alters. Both of these situations are outwith my capacity as an ordinary woman. Perhaps others are superhuman and can do it. I can not.

    • Kate,

      I am so sorry that I didn’t respond to this when you wrote it. I had messed up my blog settings and didn’t know I had any comments.

      I can’t even imagine what it’s like to be married to someone with Asperger’s and a dissociative disorder. You are a saint!

      One important aspect of the Aspie Way is that both partners be healthy. This is not the case with your ASP. This being said, I want to address your concern about how the Aspie Way may feel like parenting your partner, which knocks out the desire for sex.

      I did feel like I was parenting my ASP when I started using the Aspie Way, and I didn’t want sex. This changed when two things happened.

      First and most importantly, I changed my mindset. I realized that I was partnering with a man who is disabled, not childish. Everyone has an “inner child,” and this is just one aspect of all adults, including Aspies. Aspies have crippling anxiety, which can interfere with an intimate relationship and can be helped by The Aspie Way.

      Secondly, my Aspie started to take care of me in return. In my mind, mutual support is part of any intimate relationship. His doing so is very sexy.

      Remember that the difficult part of the Aspie Way is temporary, and once the reward comes and ASP trusts you, the effort gets repaid many times over. Asperger love is a precious thing and stronger and steadier than NT love. It is so worth the effort, even if it feels superhuman to make it.

  4. I have been married 44 yrs to my ASD partner. While I’ve known all along he was “different” I pushed it to the background deciding to honor my vows “for better or worse.” My life has been painful to the point that sometimes I’d just take the car to some unpopulated area and just cry. I had no idea why he was the way he was. Since I’ve been reading about Aspergers, he even took an online test which he scored highly on, I’ve decided that he truly is ASD. He is now 74, unwilling to get a diagnosis and becoming worse in his treatment of me. Last night I was attempting to explain to him the effect of his ASD on me and why I am so depressed, but he got angry, started ranting that everything’s always his fault, I shot back that was absolutely true. In the end I told him I wanted a divorce and he said fine. Today, another day, and I know that he cannot really survive without me and I wouldn’t want to hear of anything bad happening to him, and in reality, I do still love him in some weird kind of way I guess. Your method interested me as it’s the only one like that I’ve seen. Can you be more specific, like daily examples of how you do it? Do you think it can still work even after I’ve brought up the D word? How long might it take to gain his trust?
    I’m interested in your take on this. I look forward to your answer.

    Julie

    • Hello Julie,

      Your story sounds very familiar. It seems like you’ve done the best you could with the information you had. I’m sorry that things have been so difficult.

      I’d start by assuring him that you don’t want a divorce. Tell him that you didn’t mean it and that you only thought about it because you were upset. When an Aspie feels abandoned, it can be very bad for the relationship. Sometimes they shut down. You may have hit his fear of rejection, and if so, it will take a lot of reassurance and patience before he trusts you again.

      As for how long it will take, that will depend mostly on you. If you can do the Aspie Way *consistently,* it may take only a few weeks. His fear of you leaving, if you did trigger this fear, may pop up from time to time for years to come. Be sensitive to this, and reassure him as needed.

      Once you’ve established a calm baseline with no expectations, then start asking him for what you want.

      I’d start with small things, “Would you please take out the trash now?” Be sure to include *when* you want the task done, and don’t forget to thank him sincerely when he does it. If he gets upset with a small request, then just go back to being calm and expecting nothing for a while, and then try again.

      Once you see he’s happy to do small tasks, build up to more difficult ones, “I want to go on a date. Please take me out to dinner Friday night.” If this causes a problem, back off and try again in a week or two.

      Finally, once you have created an environment of trust and give-and-take, you can start asking for the big stuff, “Please don’t raise your voice when you are upset. I feel scared when you do.” Be sure to use statements that begin with “I” and never “you,” such as, “You scare me,” which will put him on the defensive.

      Eventually, you will be able to stop asking for every little thing. You will be able to ask, “Please make a note to remember to take me on a date at least twice a month.” He may still need reminding for a while, but he will learn.

      Always believe that he loves you and wants to make you happy (even when he’s being difficult), and let him know frequently when he succeeds. Your happiness will be his reward that motivates him to change.

      Please note that step one of the Aspie Way is to take care of *you*, which for you includes being treated for depression. If you are depressed and angry and resentful and all the other states that come with being an NT in an intimate relationship with an AS, you may find the rest of the Aspie Way too difficult.

      If you need help along the way, feel free to email me.

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